reunion 2007

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Attended (in order of arrival)

Tony Fish (local)
Paul Bird (Cambridge / Dover)
Simon Langlois (from Jersey thanks Simon)

Bob Payne (Tenterden)

then in no particular order (because I don’t remember)

Sally Chapman and partner (ex Port of London authority)

Mark Croucher and partner (former and future reunion organiser, landlord of the Two Brewers in Dartford)

Tim Strickland (Hastings College – former MNC lecturer)

Keith Forbes and brother

Martin King (Herne Bay)

Mike and Diane Ackers (Cambs)

Gary Little and wife

That totals 16 which is a respectable showing and I would like to thank those who made it.


Apologies were received from David Flack who like Geoff Hudson chose Glastonbury instead, a week early(?)
Also from Roger Taylor (former MNC lecturer who had planned to attend but picked up a bug at a meeting on Friday and didn’t feel well enough). Sorry not to see you Roger.

Also from Richard “Tiny” Carlton who was in the country (as opposed to his normal home of Guernsey) for a wedding in Oxfordshire.

Tony Fish was the first to arrive at the Sir John Franklin before 7pm, I followed along a bit later rolling in about 7.15, late as usual, paid for the buffet (of which more later), bought a pint and awaited Simon’s arrival who had flown in from Jersey with fingers crossed for a good attendance. Simon walked in about 7.30, followed not long after by Bob Payne and the four of us chewed the fat for a while wondering if that was going to be it.

I drank a little too much [Guinness] too soon and so my memories of what followed are a little hazy but from memory and information gleaned from the morning after the night before the following arrived in no particular order and swelled the numbers.

Martin King (ex R/O now doing financials in Herne Bay) came along not a lot later, a welcome visitor having only got in touch the day before in his own words “Just found the site and the reunion at the Franklin (which up until recently was my local)” looking tanned and fit, and proceeded to entertain us, being mainly sparkies we all started swapping salty stories (sorry Tony – deckie). At some point Mike and Diance Ackers who had early on met up with Gary Little and wife, emerged from the beer garden as a foursome and joined in briefly but mainly spent the evening as a group of four catching up 20 years.

Tim Strickland from Hastings way had said he was coming, thanks I think to a phone call from Roger (who sadly couldn’t make it) so thanks Roger, and Tim proved to be entertaining. Several “catch ups” were made that evening with Tim recognising people he’d taught years ago and as the evening wore on the stories all started emerging, and the jokes, which are all probably better left in the pub. It was good to watch and we all had related stories to share about times at sea.

Sally Chapman ex POLA and her beau dropped in for an hour, unexpectedly but no less welcome for that, thanks Sally, sorry I didn’t get to speak to you more but thanks for coming along.

Keith Forbes and his brother came in unexpectedly and added to the ex-sparky numbers so that line of conversation continued and all in all it turned into a Sparkies reunion (sorry Deckies but because the Phases were all at different times it’s difficult to get lots of deckies together).

Later on Mark Croucher and his partner came in which was good news because he and I were able to discuss sharing the planning for next year’s reunion. He has plans for a good venue but I won’t say more until it happens.


The buffet was a disappointment. It’s probably just as well that only five of us went for it, there did not appear to be £37.50 worth of food and what there was was execrable. Diane was quite correct in pointing out that the roll’s filling was covered in a white sauce which disguised the contents. I cannot recommend the Sir John Franklin catering on the basis of what I saw last night and I’m sorry I bothered. By contrast the Pier’s turnout last year was excellent and well worth the money so guess where I’d go next time?

There was a brief altercation with some git who spent the evening stealing the buffet food with extraordinary cheek and when challenged used the words “Don’t be brave”. Given the quality of the food we were probably better off having less of it but he was astonishingly rude.


There aren’t any. There was no suitable moment to get everybody outside at the same time given the dispostion of groups in conversation and so it didn’t happen.


If you were there and think I have mis-represented what happened or want to add to it please register and comment.

If you were not there and wish to comment on what I have written you are equally welcome to register and comment.

Reunion 2008

Mark Croucher has kindly agreed to organise the 2008 reunion and details will emerge in due course. Keep an eye on this blog, and the Google Groups site at

Best wishes

Paul Bird


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